The Best £5k+ Electric Mountain Bike Test – What Does £5000+ Buy You In An #eMTB

The Best £5k+ Electric Mountain Bike Test – What Does £5000+ Buy You In An #eMTB


buying an electric mountain bike is a big investment and
with technology developing at an eye-watering pace making an informed
purchasing decision it’s even more of a challenge which is why we’ve assembled
four of the freshest ebikes for this month’s test Marita’s 160ml travel a 160
900 e gets a full aluminium frame Shimano steps motor and 500 watt hour
battery pack one of the main advantages of the compact Shimano motor is that
Merida can reduce the chainstay length and keep a similar suspension layout to
its non motorized cousin in fact the geometry on the e 160 is pretty close to
the best 160 million 0 bikes the exception is the head angle which a hair
under 67 degrees is simply too steep by modern standards the size range is also
limited so if you’re 6 4 over you’ll need to look at either the trek or the
rocky mountain instead it doesn’t come with Fox’s ebike optimized fork but
we’re not complaining as the regular 36 our c2 benefits from the best damping
money can buy combined with the Fox factory float x2 rear shock the superb
damping control really lets you charge hard it also has the best tires on test
the two point eight inch maxis minion DHR 2 is super predictable in a wide
variety of conditions and the rectangular Center knobs provide
unparalleled brake interaction which is pretty handy when it comes to stopping a
22 kilo bike there are some great features with the Shimano step system
the display is crystal clear and because it’s neatly tucked behind the handlebar
it’s really well protected and by using a left hand shifter to toggle between
the three power settings the remote is more robust than other designs having a
full size 34 tooth came ring is also a big advantage for UK riding as it will
clear mud much better than tiny driver cog used by boss on the other hand a
battery life indicator isn’t linear so you can quickly run out of juice if
you’re not used to it in our times climbing acceleration tests it was also
the slowest bike of the four not that this wipe the smile off our faces
but it did mean that the murid had got dropped on every climb so the EE 160
boasts a fun playful ride quality that few e bikes can match and the price is
simply unbeatable it’s also the lightest bike in this test and that’s without
using a single strand of carbon but with a two-degree slacker head angle and a
little more power from the Shimano motor the e 160 would be even faster up the
climbs and even more fun on the descents Lapierre has never been afraid to
approach mountain bike design with a fresh perspective and the over volt am
900 plus is no exception with the battery accounting for more than 10% of
the total weight its location has a huge impact on the handling
that’s why Lapierre has put the bosch power pack directly on top of the motor
making the front end easier to lift and the bike feel more agile there’s 140 ml
of smooth controlled travel from the OST plus suspension but the swoopy carbon
frame is so solid it will be even better as a 160 ml bike Lapierre’s dual wheel
system means you can run normal rubber instead of the standard 2.8 inch plus
tires assymetric inserts in the dropouts make it possible to shorten the rear end
by 10 millimetres when you run a smaller tire given that the LaPierre has a
sky-high BB height fitting smaller volume tires would be a great way to
lower the bike although the higher beebeep did allow us to keep the pedals
turning and the motor engaged on jagged climbs and the ultra long chain stays
make it one of the best climbing bikes on tests only getting beaten by the
extra power of the rocky the real issue is with the sizing there are only three
options and all of them are too short the battery rattles in the frame and the
small driver cog is prone to clogging with mud twelve months ago this bike was
truly cutting-edge but the latest e-bikes ride more like regular bikes
than ever before and this means that the cramped over Volt already feels dated Trek’s power fly 9 LT gets the new Bosch
emt-b mode this automatically toggles between all four power levels to provide
the right amount of assistance and it really helps shift our focus back to
gear selection you can manually override the emt-b setting by simply selecting a
different mode on the compact display there have been structural changes to
the power fly to the battery now sits in rather than on the down tube which keeps
the white lower in the frame for improved handling trick also rotates the
Bosch CX motor to get the main pivot where it wants it and shorten the chain
stays a fraction the back end is still pretty long so the balance and weight
distribution feels best on the larger frame sizes travel is fixed at 150 mil
front and rear and a BP suspension feels bomber solid we’ve been impressed with
Trek’s reactive shock technology on Nonnie bikes and it was every bit as
good at ironing out chatter on the power fly in fact the only noises with a
battery rattling and the whir of the motor with only eight gears bigger jumps
between each cog and a shifter that only allows a single shift at a time it’s
easy to see why Ramsey x1 is the go-to ebike transmission it’s so good in fact
we think brands should start pairing it up with the Shimano steps motor for the
best of both worlds at 24 kilos the trek power fly 9 LT is the heaviest bike in
this test thankfully it’s also the most solid the steep seat angle and long
chain stays offer a great position for climbing as both make it easier to keep
the front end down so even though it’s a bit of a porker you can still rock it up
ridiculous gradients while the superb suspension response means it could be
hammered straight over anything on the descents it’s a relatively agile bike
too but nothing like as playful as the marina or the rocky so while it’s raised
its game for 2018 it doesn’t reach the lofty heights of
rocky mountains new altitude power play rather than building an off-the-shelf
motor rocky has developed its own system for the new altitude the big carrot
being that it can achieve the same geometry and suspension layouts for the
regular model and there are other bonuses to go alone too
such as the inline torque sensor that delivers instant power to the pedals
something that no other system currently does and it’s got power in spades it won
our acceleration tests and smoked the competition and every time to Hill Climb
and thanks to the higher capacity battery there’s an impressive range –
with seamless integration and a slender carbon front-end the powerplay is hard
to distinguish from a regular trail bike Rocky Mountains ride 9 link lets you
adjust the frame geometry and the suspension rate without nibbling away at
150 mil of travel upfront the Fox 36 fork has an e-bike optimized chassis for
extra strength and stiffness the size large felt spot-on for anyone around 5
foot 10 and there’s also an excel option for taller riders so from the get-go the
Rocky Mountain impressed us with its turn of speed and intuitive handling yes
the instant power delivery takes a little bit of getting used to but having
that power on tap has some major advantages not only does it make it
easier to get going if you stall on a steep climb but it also makes it easier
to gauge just how hard to pedal and how much traction is available with the most
powerful motor on test the rocky was the only bike to make it up certain sections
of trail even if the short change days mean you have to sit right on the nose
of the saddle and get comfortable with wheeling up the climbs coming back down
the rocky mountain handles the most like a regular bike with the geometry
mirroring that of a conventional long travel trail bike you don’t need to
adapt your riding style to get the most from it but there’s a catch our
pre-production test bike will cut out for no apparent reason hopefully it’s
just a bug in the software but this was enough of a warning sign to prevent a
perfect 10 rating with a specific motor rocky has been able to design an e-bike
that reflects the ride quality of a highly evolved
150 mil trail bike it’s the best bike in this test by some margin but the issue
with the motor raised question marks over its reliability that will only be
answered as time goes on